Going on vacation this summer?  There are a lot of things you have to think about — what you should pack, what you should do, which hotel you should stay at.  But don’t forget about protecting your home while you’re gone!  Here are some of our best vacation preparation tips for taking care of your biggest investment:

1. Consider a light switch timer.  Rather than leaving your lights on the entire time you’re gone in an effort to convince would-be burglars that you’re home (Who leaves their lights on all night if they’re home?), think about purchasing a light switch timer.  These allow you to choose when your lights are on and off.  Set these times for the normal times that you’re awake and asleep.  If someone’s watching the house, they’ll assume that a person is switching the lights off and on.  Home Depot has some great options with a variety of prices.

2. Unplug all of your appliances.  Plugged-in appliances such as microwaves, televisions and printers can use power, even when they’re not running.  And there’s always the risk of an electric short.  So, not only does unplugging appliances when you leave help prevent a potential electrical fire, it also helps you save on your electric bill.

3. Take care of your mail and newspapers.  You can either have these services held while you’re on vacation, or have a friendly neighbor stop by the pick them up.  Mail piling up in the mailbox and stacks of newspapers on your front porch are a

[ s very obvious sign that you’re gone.  The USPS website has an easy form you can fill out to hold your mail.

4. Talk to a neighbor.  If you have a good relationship with your neighbors, consider asking them to keep an eye on your house.  As mentioned above, they could pick up the mail and newspaper, or check in on your plants and animals.  Or, even asking them to keep an eye out and make sure nothing suspicious is going on could do wonders.

5. Don’t announce your vacation.  Even though you’re tempted, try to avoid announcing that you’re going out of town on your blog and social media accounts, unless they’re set to private.  And double check that you’re not posting anything in the same place that you post your address.

6. Lock everything.  This may seem obvious, but it could be easy to forget.  Make sure your front door, back door, garage door and windows are all locked and latched.

7. Consider a security system.  If you don’t have a security system, now might be the time to consider one.  Not only could it discourage potential burglars from breaking in, many systems also alert the local authorities.  Letting them know moments after someone tries to break in is much better than calling the police after you get home days, or even weeks later.  If you want an easy system, consider Simpli Safe.  It’s a very easy system that you can self-install and that works with a mobile phone.

So this summer, while you’re on vacation, make sure that you and your family stay safe.  And use these easy tips to keep your home and possessions safe as well!  Safe travels! And remember, when you need a home inspection in Hendersonville to Nashville, call J and J!!